2 Lunches, downtown SF
I'm at a conference in the Hilton (Union Sq), only 2 free days for lunch. Any recommendations for something 1) exceptionally delicious 2) unique are accepted. Go! (thnx)
It would certainly depend on what type of food you like.
The 200 block of California Street (a 15-20 minute walk from the Hilton) has a few options. Perbacco is perhaps the finest Italian restaurant in SF. They also operate Barbacco, which is a more casual place next door. The Tadich Grill is a classic "old-school" seafood house that is popular with both locals & tourists. It has a large counter that is perfect if you are dining solo.
You should also go to upper right-hand corner of this page and do a search for "Union Square." You will find many, many past threads that should be of interest.
Past thread on Barbacco: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/742018
Lunch is an easy call.
Taking the "F" up Market to Zuni (10 minutes?) is always a good idea: half a dozen oysters and a vodka gimlet followed by the house burger and string fries always works.
Tadich is classic. You can walk there. Go late, closer to 2 p.m., and sit at the serving bar. Let your waiter order for you. He knows what's fresh and tasty on any given day. The Hangtown Fry is iconic.
I like dim sum and Yank Sing never disappoints. Two locations: Stevenson Street and the Rincon Center on Spear St. Of the two, I prefer the Rincon Center. The Stevenson Street place is a little closer to Union Square, your call.
Eating at the Ferry Plaza can be interesting. I like to buy stuff at the various outlets (cheeses, breads, terrines, whatever) and take them over to the bar at the Wine Merchants for a solo feast. The barkeeps are personable and will guide you to some solid wine selections by the glass to go with your ad hoc meal. The people watching is excellent if you position yourself properly (north side of the bar proper looking south).
Wexler's. Smoke is the not so secret ingredient in all their food. Have had nice dinners there, but haven't been to lunch. Dining counter is perfect for soloist.